Crossfit isn’t something that you do – it’s who you are. It provides the challenge that allows your inner warrior to emerge. When it does, you’re able to go forth and conquer in every other aspect of your life.
When you’re ready to get serious about Crossfit, you want to be able to get your workout in whenever and wherever you happen to be. In this article, we present 5 essential pieces of gear that will allow you to turn any space into your personal Box, allowing you to slam a great WOD, day after day. Combine them with a CrossFit equipment package for a cost-effective total fitness solution.
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Essential #1: Olympic Weight Set
The basis of any WOD is often some variation of the Olympic lifts. Unless you’ve got a quality Olympic lifting set, you’ll never get your Crossfit home gym off the ground.
Many retailers offer Olympic bars, weights, and collars as a package deal. This will save you money as opposed to purchasing each item singly. A 7-foot Olympic bar weighs 44 pounds and can hold up to 1000 pounds of weight. Sets that includes the bar, 255 pounds of weight and collars.
The best type of fasteners for the end of your barbell are spring collars which are among the cheapest, quickest and easiest to get on and off. Be aware that you cannot use standard barbell plates on an Olympic bar as the holes in the center of each weight are only one inch in diameter. Olympic plates are two inches in diameter. If you are purchasing your Olympic plates separately from the bar (i.e., not a package deal), be sure to get a range of smaller as well as larger plates so that you can progressively add resistance to the bar.
The best types of plates to buy are known as bumper plates. These are rubber coated to provide safety. While there is a good range of brands on the market, you probably won’t find any that are lighter than 10 pounds. That means that you’ll need to pick up steel 2.5 and 5-pound weights.
Essential #2: A Power Rack
A power rack will be your bulkiest and most costly piece of home gym equipment. Despite the cost in terms of money and space, however, you DO NOT want to bypass this vital piece of weight training gear.
A good power rack will have a footprint of about 4 feet by 4 feet. Many of them have provision for attachments that extend the footprint further. You’ll also need at least 8 feet of headroom (add a foot if it’s got a pull-up bar).
A power rack provides safety bars that you can drop the weight onto if you get stuck. This is a huge advantage when training at home on your own. You’ll want to perform all of your brute strength exercises (squats, bench press, deadlifts, push press) inside your power rack.
Here’s what to look for when selecting your power rack . . .
- The rack framing should be very sturdy, make from heavy gauge square steel and the minimum amount of plastic.
- You want a minimum load capacity of 1000 pound (455 kg)
- The safety pin should be adjustable all the way to the floor
- The hole spacing on the safety pin uprights should be one inch apart – two inches is too wide!
- You want numbered holes on the uprights
- It should feature a pull-up bar, ideally with multi-grip options
- A dip bar should be included, with bars that taper out slightly
Essential #3: A Rowing Machine
A rowing machine will provide you with one of the most complete all-round exercise options you can ever do. They work your upper body and your lower body together. In addition, they provide you with a great core workout.
Here’s what to look for in a home rowing machine:
- Resistance Method – There are hydraulic, water, magnetic and air resistance versions of rowing machines. The most natural and reliable is air resistance, followed by magnetic resistance.
- Seat Rail – the seat rail will determine your range of movement. A smooth, metal alloy rail with an efficient ball bearing system on the seat attachment is essential. Taller people will need a longer seat rail length.
- Pulling Drive System – You can either get a chain or a belt system. Go with the belt, which is smoother and quieter. They should be made of the same material as your seat belt.
- Foot Plates – your rowing motion involves pushing through your feet. That’s why your foot plates should be made of robust metal rather than plastic.
Essential #4: Kettlebells
Kettlebells have become a Crossfit favorite, so you’re going to want to have a few pairs to work with. A medium pair for momentum moves like kettlebell swings, light pair for more technical moves like the Turkish Get Up and a heavier pair for Goblet Squats would be the ideal.
Kettlebells are made of a number of materials. You’ll come across bells that are steel, concrete with a vinyl outer and cast iron. Steel bells are the most durable, followed by cast iron. If you opt for cast iron, however, make sure that the bell has been cast out of a single piece of iron rather than two pieces that have been welded together.
Kettlebells that have a protective rubber sleeve that help to preserve your flooring. Be aware, however, that they are also likely to bounce if you drop them.
Essential #5: A Plyometric Box
To take your Crossfit WOD to the next level, you should get hold of a set of three plyo boxes. Box jumps are a great way to develop power, coordination, and agility while also burning through a ton of calories. A set of 3 will allow you to graduate your workout intensity.
Here’s to look for when buying a plyo box:
- Platform width – it should be, at a minimum, hip width
- Enclosed sides – that way your shins won’t get caught
- Rounded edges – protects you from nasty cuts and abrasions
- Robust design – if the box is height adjustable, make sure that is won’t collapse mid use
- No protrusions – check that the screws are countersunk
- Nonslip – you need a solid landing surface
- Multi-height – even non-adjustable boxes should allow for three jumping height when flipped
Essential #6: Agility Ladder
The agility ladder is a rope ladder which you place on the floor, enabling you to do a whole range of plyo workouts. You should purchase a ladder that has adjustable slats, allowing you to vary your stride length.
Your ladder should also come with stakes for you to pin it to the ground when using it outdoors. When using it inside, you can put small weights on the ends to keep it in place.
When selecting an agility ladder, you need to think about the number of rungs it has. They can range between 8 and 20 or more. Selecting a ladder with 15 rungs will allow you to perform an effective Crossfit workout. You will also want a ladder that gives you the ability to change the size of each rung of the ladder.
Your agility ladder will go through quite a beating, so make sure that the rungs are made from rigid plastic. The straps should be made of heavy duty webbing material that will not easily fray.
Finally, a good agility ladder will come with a clear set of instructions and some training options.
Putting together a Crossfit equipment package that includes our 6 essentials will provide you with your own fully functional Crossfit box, allowing you to get your sweat on when you feel the urge. Try to collect the items over a few months – and check out for Crossfit equipment package deals that will save you some money.